HOW TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES
If you are anything like me, you are probably already feeling the effects of shorter and much darker days, so what are your coping strategies? Here are a few thoughts on beating that inevitable feeling of less energy and often times, less drive to accomplish tasks.
Brighten up your home with stronger lighting, especially if you have changed your bulbs out for energy saving. This may be a time to switch back (temporarily for darker days), some blubs that brighten your home. We long for the sunshine and light outside, so barring that, it is a good time to bring brighter lighting inside your home. Open all of your blinds and curtains to let as much natural light from outside to enter your home during the daytime.
Eating smarter is a way to ensure that you are physically not feeling drained. The temptation to snack in front of the TV becomes greater as our bodies crave energy. It is important to feed yourself nutrients that support energy as well as to keep you healthy during cold and flu season. Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate as a treat and stick to clean, whole foods like fruits and veggies and smaller portions of carb-laden foods like chips, potatoes, pasta and white bread.
If you are feeling sluggish, supplement good quality Vitamin C and D to help ward off illness, as well as help to stabilize your mood. Get lots of rest and keep a nightly routine even on weekends. Getting out of bed can be a challenge if you are prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, but this can be minimized by purchasing a dawn simulator which is a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a period of time before you wake up. Some people find purchasing a “light box” that can sit on their desk at work, or beside them while they read for approximately 30 minutes per day is helpful. The light boxes stimulate cells in the retina that connect to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control circadian rhythms. If you plan to purchase one of these light boxes, be sure to research to ensure they are not harmful to your eye sight as they are not FDA regulated.
If you can afford it, plan a vacation. Having something to look forward to with the knowledge that you will be doing something you enjoy, can help to elevate your spirits. If you are unable to afford a getaway, plan a get together with family and friends and ask them to bring along their favourite dish to share, as well as some great CD`s to keep the mood light.
Just getting outside for a walk can bring some much needed light to your eyes from the reflection in the snow. Bundle up, ask to walk your neighbour`s dog if you don`t want to walk alone, or visit an animal shelter and get some cuddle time in with pets that are in need of care and affection. Plan a reward for when you arrive home, like a hot cup of chocolate or warm bath.
Lending a hand to help others tends to get our minds off of ourselves and on to those who are in need and are perhaps in a less favourable place in their lives. It has been proven that when you help others, you are actually giving to yourself at the same time and you will feel a sense emotional satisfaction that can only be gained by being grateful for what you have, while lending a helping hand to others.
Find a hobby that you can work at quietly. I like to cook, or decorate and find that very rewarding. Maybe you like to read, play cards and games, or listen to some great music. Pay attention to your frame of mind and take action early before the Fall and Winter Blahs take hold.
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